Lok Sabha Polls: Sarbananda Sonowal or Lurinjyoti Gogoi! Dibrugarh gets ready for Battle Royale


The stage is set for the mega poll battle in Assam’s Dibrugarh constituency as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fielded Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, replacing incumbent party MP and Union Minister Rameswar Teli. 

The Congress left Dibrugarh to ally Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP). AJP chief Lurinjyoti Gogoi will contest against Sonowal. It will be a direct fight between Gogoi and Sonowal.

Dibrugarh is one of the five constituencies in Assam that vote in the first phase on April 19.

Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal, a heavyweight BJP candidate, and Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) president Lurinjyoti Gogoi are contesting against each other from the Dibrugarh Lok Sabha seat.

They both have also been the president of the All Assam Students Union (AASU), the state’s oldest student body. 

Union Minister Sarabananda Sonowal last represented the Dibrugarh Lok Sabha constituency from 2004 to 2009, winning the elections on a Asom Gana Parishad ticket. He lost the elections in 2009, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) two years later, and became Assam’s first BJP chief minister in 2016.

However, when the BJP won the Assembly elections again in 2021, Himanta Biswa Sarma succeeded Sonowal, who was sent to the Rajya Sabha and inducted in the Union Cabinet.

Sonowal faces Assam Jatiya Parishad’s Lurinjyoti Gogoi, one of the leaders of the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests in the state.

The Assam Jatiya Parishad was formed in the wake of the anti-CAA protests and has an alliance with the Congress in the state.

The Aam Aadmi Party has fielded Manoj Dhanowar from the seat, whose father, the late Rameshwar Dhonowar, was an eight-term Congress legislator from the Digboi Assembly seat, which is part of the Dibrugarh Lok Sabha seat.

Like Sonowal, Gogoi was also a member of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU).

A former president of the influential All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), Sonowal was an MLA (2001) and Lok Sabha MP (2004) of the AGP before switching sides to BJP in 2011. He is a three-time Assam MLA, two-time Lok Sabha member and one-time Rajya Sabha member. He has been Assam CM from May 2016 – May 2021.

Dibrugarh has been a stronghold of Assam Jaitya Parishad (AJP) which was formed by two student organizations of Assam – AASU and AJYCP in 2020. Gogoi, who completed his study in Dibrugarh, is a local boy which goes in his favour.

About Dibrugarh constituency

Dibrugarh has changed its voting pattern in the last few decades. Till 1999 it was a stronghold of Congress under Paban Singh Ghatowar’s leadership as he won the seat six times. Then AGP leader Sonowal (now a BJP leader) wrested the seat from Ghatowar in 2004. Congress again returned in 2009 but BJP’s Teli took the seat in 2014 and has been MP since. Teli won the seat with a margin of 3,64,566 votes by defeating Ghatowar. Dibrugarh witnessed 77.26% voter turnout in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The constituency is composed of Margherita, Tinsukia, Digboi, Makum, Tinsukia, Chabua-Lahowal, Khowang, Duliajan, Tingkhong and Naharkatia. 

Dibrugarh has the most number of tea gardens in Assam, and a hub of oil and gas public-sector undertakings, petrochemicals, and a gas cracker plant. Its 1.65 million electorate is diverse, comprising Ahoms, Muttocks, Sonowal-Kacharis, tea tribes, Hindu Bengalis, and Assamese Muslims. Gogoi has flagged the concerns among indigenous tribes about the CAA leading to an influx of “foreigners”, while Sonowal has showcased the development that has taken place during the BJP rule in the state and at the Centre.